HARRISBURG – The state House on Tuesday adopted an amendment, sponsored by state Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, to make Pennsylvania’s roads safer by making it a primary offense to text while driving. Shapiro’s amendment to S.B. 314 was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 128-69.
Senate Bill 314 would ban reading, writing or sending a text message while driving. Shapiro’s amendment would expand the legislation to make it a primary offense, allowing a driver to be pulled over for violating the law as opposed to a secondary offense which would result in a fine after an accident occurs.
After the bipartisan adoption of Shapiro’s amendment, the Republican House leadership used a procedural maneuver to stop the underlying bill from moving to a final vote.
“While I am pleased with the bipartisan support my amendment received in the House, I am extremely disappointed in the House Republican leadership and their partisan maneuvering to keep this important public safety measure from becoming law in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said. “This is an issue of paramount importance and is long overdue. Every day they delay in passing this bill, is potentially another day when accidents can occur on our roadways.”
Shapiro has long advocated for a statewide ban on texting and talking on hand-held cell phones while driving and first introduced this legislation in 2006. Nine states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation that bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving.
Shapiro represents the 153rd Legislative District in Montgomery County. For more information, visit www.pahouse.com/Shapiro.
HARRISBURG PA — Motorists in Pennsylvania were sent a clear message Monday (Nov. 1, 2011) by the state General Assembly: Stop texting while driving, or get a ticket and a $50 fine, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service said.
The state Senate passed Bill 314 that bans texting while driving. The final vote in the Senate was 45-5, following a vote Monday of 186-7 in the House. Kelli Roberts, deputy director of communications for Gov. Tom Corbett, said the governor “supports it and will sign it” into law.
Under the bill, texting while driving would be a primary offense, like speeding. That means a violator can be stopped by law enforcement solely for committing the offense. Those convicted of texting while driving would face a fine of $50.
Proponents of the measure say the ban will save lives. Opponents say the ban won’t help solve the problem of distracted driving.